Submitted by Cindy Payne
My dad, who has passed away, made a huge difference in my life.
He was a hard-working man who was known in our community as one of the best workers around. I believe he came by it honestly, as he did not have an easy life. He left home at the young age of eleven to escape a life of hardship. Working on fishing boats was the best option at the time and as a teenager he was taken in by a family (my mom’s family!) while he worked as a labourer building houses, cutting logs, and whatever else he could do to make a living so that he could eventually have his own place to live. In that time, dad became a great labourer and carpenter. He could not read or write but he could certainly work with numbers and measurements!
Dad always struggled with the fact that he could not read and it was because of that he always pushed all eight of us children to do our best in school. At times, he was very strict with us but it wasn’t until I became an adult that I realized why and how important it was to him that we have a good education (something he did not have the opportunity to have). We were so blessed to have a dad who loved us so much, he wanted nothing more than to see us succeed and not struggle in life like he did.
I remember feeling embarrassed one time when my dad met up with a childhood friend and was telling him about us kids and what we all did for a living. I gave him a look as if to say “Dad, don’t do that.” I was mortified to think that anyone would think that my dad was bragging. I realized at the moment dad looked at me that I was wrong to try to stop him. The look in his eyes said it all…he was so very proud of the accomplishments of his children and I said nothing but felt proud to be his daughter.
The morals and values and the work ethic that my dad instilled in all eight of us children was much more than what we could have been taught in school. Little did he know that through his hardships in life and his lack of education he was able to teach us much more than an educated scholar. He was a wonderful man who taught us the most important things in life.
So this is a tribute to my dad who has made such a difference in my life and in the lives of people who knew him as such a dedicated, hard working man and father.